The Wright way to build

Cyprus Mail
4 October 2009

Eric Lloyd Wright, grandson of the world-famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is in Cyprus for a series of lectures. He spoke to Nathan Morley about organic architecture and green building design.

ERIC Lloyd Wright’s grandfather, Frank Lloyd Wright, was the most celebrated American architect of his time, and one of the outstanding architects of the world in the 20th Century.

It is still widely acknowledged that he exerted a very powerful influence on architects both in America and Europe, his work especially in the field of domestic building, represented the most important American contribution to modern architecture.

And like his grandfather, Eric successfully continues the family tradition of designing buildings as an extension of the creative process of nature.

He says his work is actuated by the principles of organic growth and unity, so that a building should appear as much as possible an integral part of its setting and surroundings.

In an interview with the Sunday Mail, he said organic building is a method he is keen to see grow worldwide.

“It is becoming more popular now outside the United States. Basically organic architecture is working with nature, taking into consideration what the nature of the site is, and the weather, the positions of the sun, the terrain – all of these affect the architecture that goes into that natural environment.”

Wright says that add those principals to the personality and requirements of the client and you have the building blocks to create a project.

“Steel should be used as steel, wood as wood. You should not try to imitate or pass them off as something they are not. Don’t take a plastic and make it look like concrete.”

Wright is the founder of Wright Way Organic Resource Center in Malibu and his portfolio includes the restoration and renovation of Frank Lloyd Wright and Lloyd Wright works as well as residences and institutional buildings of his own design.

The popularity of organic building, despite being a method used for nearly 70 years, has started to gain popularity especially in Japan and Asia, but as yet, has not been used here.

Despite only having been in Cyprus for a few days, Wright says he has seen “nothing that has caught his eye”, architecturally, but is hoping that will change before he leaves the island.

“I really can’t make an educated comment yet, but I have to say I have not seen anything that is outstanding, but there is still time.”

So what makes a great architect? Wright has no doubts of the qualities required.

“You have to have a well rounded background, you have to be not just involved in architecture, you must love poetry, painting, music is extremely important. You also have to be in touch with dance and movement.”

His design philosophy is rooted in the integration of ecology, social responsibility and beauty.

Through Eric’s years of design experience, he has developed an understanding that it is not the physical walls and roof, but the space within a building that forms its character – its soul.

“There is this quote from an early Chinese philosopher, who says the reality of the tea cup is not the tea cup itself, but it’s the space within the teacup.”

Wright also recalls his grandfather, speaking of the building of his own house, said that no house should ever be on a hill, but should be of the hill.

He wanted, he said, a natural house, and he “scanned the hills of the region where the rock came cropping out in strata to suggest buildings”.

n Eric Lloyd Wright will speaking on October 5 at 7.30pm, the UNESCO Auditorium, University of Nicosia, 46 Makedonitissas Ave, Nicosia

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